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Children and Travel

Travel is full of opportunities. Out of our home environment, most of us will naturally become curious, taking in everything around us and trying to understand the unfamiliarities of a different culture. For children, this is especially true. Children are naturally receptive to learning, and take in information all the time without thinking. They lack the cynicism and pre-conceived ideas that many adults have, so are particularly able to benefit from the opportunities travel presents.

While simply taking children away on a holiday will benefit them educationally, many parents choose to give their children's 'travel education' a little more structure, either enrolling them on a course, or providing their own programme of activities to help their child get the most out of their time abroad. These might link back to the child's school work, or help them develop interests outside school. Areas where children can really benefit from travel education include:

1) Languages. This is an obvious one, but important. Children learn languages much more easily and naturally than adults, so starting them young can have major long term benefits. Being in the country where the language is spoken helps speed up learning - for a child studying an English course London is a much better place to do it than Paris, for example. It is important to bear in mind that for children at foreign language or English school London or another big city might seem like a daunting place as well as an interesting one so choose a school with good pastoral care.

2) History.Most children will have studied some history which covers countries other than their own, and will relish the chance to see living history in other countries. Seeing, for example, the Coliseum in Rome or the Pyramids in Egypt will bring history to life far more than any text book could.

3) Geography. Most children will have learnt at school about different environments, both natural and human. However, if all they've ever seen, is the streets around their homes, it will be hard for them to imagine these other environments. Taking them to places where they can see mountains or deserts will help them to gain a genuine understanding of other places.